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Umpire criticism seems to be at an all-time high in baseball right now, and the game could be shifting to robot umps. We have seen robot umpires tested out at other levels of the game, and it could be the way to go in the future. Baseball is different than other sports because there can be debate over a foul in basketball or a penalty in football. However, there’s no debate about a ball being outside of the strike zone in baseball. Baseball legend Pete Rose recently talked about the umpire criticism, and he appears to be on the side of the umpires.

The stance that Pete Rose has on umpires isn’t a very popular one right now. A lot of people are sick of seeing inconsistent calls in terms of balls and strikes, and they know that consistency would be there with robot umps.

Rose recalls his playing days and knowing that every ump had their own strike zone. He talked about it with Bret Boone on The Bret Boone Podcast, and he thinks that the majority of umpires are doing a good job.

“Every umpire, Booney, has his own strike zone,” Rose said on the show. “And when I was a player I knew Lee Weyer’s strike zone, Augie Donatelli, I knew his strike zone, Al Barlick, I knew his strike zone, just like you know who you could argue with and who you can’t. I’ve argued with umpires for five minutes but you say one curse word, they’ll kick your a** out. They don’t want to hear it, and if an umpire makes a mistake, how does he rectify it, you can’t change your decision. And all these replays you have today, but I think these replays will prove that umpires are pretty damn good at what they do, I give a lot of credit, I give them a lot of credit.”

Bret Boone agrees with Pete Rose. There’s no doubt about it, being an MLB umpire and being able to tell whether or not a ball you see for a split second caught the edge of the strike zone is no easy task. The replays of all of the different angles we are seeing are highlighting the missed calls.

“I do too, at a time where they’re so heavily dissected and criticized, oh it’s unbelievable, they’ve got every angle,” Boone said. “You know you got to realize at some point there’s a human element to this and it’s tough out there. I think that’s fair, I think the umpires are as good as they’ve ever been, it’s just they’re in a no win situation with the technology we have to critique them on, on a daily basis.”

Will baseball shift to robot umpires?

Cleveland Guardians manager Stephen Vogt (12) talks with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the third inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park
© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Bret Boone and Pete Rose have a point, and the replays are certainly exposing these missed calls, but there are still missed calls. Obviously the human element is in play and no one is going to be perfect, but that’s a big reason why people want to make this change over to robot umps. They can be perfect. They will all have the same strike zone. They have been tested, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the MLB make the change somewhat soon.

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